As some of your will know, in addition to my Strategic HR and Leadership Coaching business People Strong and Paul’s 4wd tour business, Tagalong Tours of Australia we also own a Pizza Caper franchised store.
If you’ve been reading the papers lately you might have picked up that RFG – franchisor for Pizza Capers is in a bit of a mess and that has caused a lot of problems for us franchisees.
The other news story has been that we are involved in prosecuting a former employee of our Pizza Capers store for theft and fraud.
In the words of the Queen a few years back, it’s been an Annus Horribilis for that investment business.
We opened the pizza business back in 2010 as an investment and made good money from day 1. Then RFG took over as the franchisor adnchanged the management practices. For the next 5 years trading was really tough and the relationship between us and them was very strained. We lost a lot of money and value in our asset during this period.
If managing through a very difficult business relationship and stressing over money every week over the past 5 years wasn’t hard enough, in January we found out that a once highly trusted and valued manager had stolen $30,000 from our business.
As with all staff who engage in theft / fraud, there was a “theft pattern”. I spent a sad weekend reviewing every transaction over the past few years, my heart breaking every time another incident was found and Paul’s blood pressure rising. The theft pattern was uncovered, and we had the proof to move on to the next steps.
For a while we walked around shaking our heads in disbelief, we’d given this employee so much opportunity and trust and he knew the problems we were having with sales and he still stole from us.
It wasn’t until we finished the full investigation which involved RFG head office, IT gurus, the police and some strategically placed security cameras that we had to accept that we’d been conned. He’s due to have his day in court very soon and we’ve done our bit to ensure a successful prosecution.
How do you bounce back?
Every business owner / employee / boss I have ever met has been touched by some kind of work horror story, we’ve added one to the pile. It did hurt my ego a bit that, as a HR consultant, this happened in my business.
We’ve got every right to become angry, mistrusting and even vindictive given everything we’ve had to deal with in that business.
But we won’t.
Those responses are justified but not worth the damage they will do to us long term. If we buy into the disempowered version of events that we shouldn’t have trusted the franchisor or the ex-employee or that these situations are proof that everyone is really an a-hole and that we are bad HR / business people, we will start to believe this version and we will mistakenly disempower ourselves.
There’s a more empowering version of these events and it starts with telling the objective, perspective filled truth.
The truth, is that just like RFG was putting its own interests first, when they changed the management model, our ex manager was doing the same.
To make it more than that, to tell the story of hurt and mistrust and us being the victim, will stop us from moving forward and taking necessary risks that business needs to grow.
We don’t want to become smaller and more cautious as a result of this adversity, we want to be strengthened and energised by it.
The other truth is that our systems worked the thief was caught, the business stayed open with a much-improved cost base, number 2 and number 3 in the business stepped up quickly and we have received greater support from RFG – we are on the other side of the annus horribilis.
Over my years in HR I’ve seen people damaged and reduced by adversity. They lose their confidence and settle for less than they should, and they catch the grumpy old man / woman syndrome.
Shit will hit, staff will steal, business partners will let you down, sales will drop, your ego will get damaged. Real confidence, passion and strength doesn’t come from avoiding or resisting the bad stuff or from making yourself invulnerable to bad things happening.
Real confidence, passion and strength from telling the truth with objective perspective, letting go of the disempowerment and knowing that “whatever happens you’ve got this” because you took the life / business lesson.
Self-empowerment strategies are what I coach leaders in and now what I am teaching through my online program The Lemonade Cure. If you are curious to know more head over here and you can download the free eBook.
I hope that in sharing this story, there is something beneficial for you. Have a great week
People Strong: Strategic HR & Leadership Mentoring